We know that all of our interns come to China seeking personal and professional development. Most of the young people we host come for their internship in Beijing motivated, with a huge appetite for newness and opportunity.
They also come to China with a huge appetite for all of the delicious Chinese food that can be found all-over Beijing and Shanghai. From street-side noodles to five-star fine dining, China has an amazingly rich and diverse culinary scene.
Previously we featured a post - Life in Beijing: 5 Must-Visit Restaurants for New Interns
Though this post is similar in focus, we have expanded the scope a bit to cover what we consider to be our 5 favorite "Chinese food experiences."
There are times when food transcends its role of being simply sustenance and becomes something more. Those situations are what we call food experiences. China is full of them.
Below is Get in2 China's 5 Favorite Chinese Food Experiences:
1.) Roadside Chuan'r in SanLiTun
If you are a foreigner in Beijing, you know about SanLiTun. It is the epicenter of Western-style in Beijing, an enormous entertainment complex that hosts international retailers like Adidas and UniQLO, fancy sit-down restaurants of all varieties, and a collection of some of Beijing's hottest bars and clubs.
Visiting SanLiTun Bar Street on a weekend night is similar to attending a circus. It is a crowded corridor where a barrage of sights and sounds and smells stimulates senses and potentially loosens pockets of the party-goers.
There are a number of cool places worth checking out in SanLiTun, but the real entertainment - at least for us - is happening on the side-lines. Each night, tons of vendors pop-up their tents along the side of the bar street and start slanging skewers.
You can get almost anything skewered on these back streets, even lamb fries.
Our favorite order? 10 sticks lamb, 10 sticks spicy chicken, 1 ear of corn, and a Xinjiang Naan bread.
2.) Beijing Duck
You don't go to Beijing with out getting the duck. That's like going to Mexico and not getting a taco, visiting the U.S. without eating a hamburger, or stopping by Belgium without sipping any beer.
It just doesn't make sense.
Duck is available throughout Beijing but the best tasting birds are said to be at:
Da Dong Roast Duck
Quan Ju De
Duck De Chine
If you have deep enough pockets, try all 3 birds and let us know your favorite. We are partial to the first two.
3.) Hai Di Lao Hot Pot (w/ Noodle Show)
We wont spend too much time on this one since we already covered it in our previous post. Yet Hai Di Lao Hot Pot may be the most interesting and entertaining dining experience on the list.
Hot pot is the perfect way to warm your soul during those rough winter months in Beijing and Hai Di Lao Hot Pot is some of the best out there. It should be acknowledged that their are a number of regional variations to hot pot, including: Mongolian, Sichuan, and Cantonese.
Sichuan hot pot - pictured above - is the most spicy variation.
The act of preparing and eating hot pot has been referred to as "Chinese fondue."
4.) Xiao Long Bao at Din Tai Fung
There are few things on this earth more all-around perfect than the tiny xiao long bao dumpling. Din Tai Fung was also featured in our previous post, and that should tell you a bit about how fond we are of their food.
The cleanliness and customer service at Din Tai Fung is unmatched when compared with most restaurants in Beijing. It is also a treat to sneak back and catch a glimpse of the chefs in their glass-enclosed kitchen. They look more like scientists than chefs. And after tasting their dumplings, you will soon realize that it does take a genius, scientific or otherwise, to cram that much flavor in such a small bite.
Be careful when these babies arrive at your table! The broth inside is hot enough to burn your mouth!
5.) Set Yunnan Menu at Dali Courtyard
Though we did not include Dali Courtyard in our list of 5 Must-Visit Beijing Restaurants, this time we could not overlook the unique flavor of Yunnan cuisine.
Located in Southwest China, Yunnan province is scenic mountainous region and is home to such cities as: Kunming, Dali, and Lijiang. Yunnan food is extremely fresh with a pronounced spice presence and ubiquitous use of the mushroom.
Two signature Yunnan dishes are:
- Ru Bing - A cheese made from goats milk.
- Guo Xian Mi Xian - Literally "crossing the bridge noodles." Best known Yunnan dish.
Dali Courtyard, a deceptively stunning and elegant venue just off of Gulou DongDaJie, offers a fixed price set menu that gives diners a true tast of Yunnan Province. Ru Bing, the fried goat cheese, is definitely one of our culinary highlights from the menu, but the entire atmosphere of the restaurant is what keeps patrons coming back.
Come with a group of friends and a bottle of wine on a warm evening in the spring and you will not be disappointed.
So, once again we leave you with some advice:
Here is to adventure and opportunity...